The role of integrative oncology in a tertiary prevention survivorship program
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OBJECTIVE: Since 64% of cancer patients survive more than 5 years beyond diagnosis, oncologists are challenged to expand their focus from acute care to managing the long-term health consequences of cancer treatment and ensuring the integration of cancer prevention into their practices. This review defines the cancer prevention role of integrative oncology as a key component in survivorship programs. METHODS: A narrative review consisting of the results of preclinical studies, randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews that may contribute to cancer prevention. RESULTS: Integrative oncology focuses on the complexities of health and proposes a multitude of approaches. Its categories are mind-body techniques, physical therapies, nutrition plus supplements, and botanicals or natural health products. Behavioral modification, through selected integrative oncology interventions may enhance cancer prevention. CONCLUSION: Opportunities exist for oncologists to promote lifestyle changes that improve patients' length and quality of life. Integrative oncology utilizes techniques for self-empowerment, individual responsibility, and lifestyle changes that could potentially reduce both cancer recurrence and second primary tumors. Education in the principles of integrative oncology and evidence-based complementary therapies is lacking. There is a need for studies on cost-utility and effectiveness of whole systems programs of integrative oncology for the tertiary prevention of cancer.
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